Look on the bright side in this general election. At least there’s no Russell Brand – remember Ed Milliband paying court to him last time? Not to mention the Ed Stone. The process of democracy, of politicians out-sloganing each other, the photo stunts, the slagging and counter-slagging is fairly undignified. The dignity belongs to the activists door knocking and leafletting, the voters at the poll stations making their mark, and the fact that we have evolved a way of passing on power without bloodshed. Long live King Demos.
Here in Scotland the issues boil down to not Tory or not SNP and 15% of the electorate, including me, are voting tactically to that end. The nationalist fever of the last election when Nicola Sturgeon rode about in a helicopter and everyone on my Facebook feed was voting SNP for sound progressive reasons has gone. Nor is Salmond boasting that he could write the UK budget in a coalition with Labour. The atmosphere is more subdued, and those of a leftist persuasion are swithering about switching to Corbyn. The thought of another independence referendum sickens many voters and the SNP have no great record of achievement for their 10 years rule at Holyrood.
My constituency is Edinburgh West, which for a long time was held by the Liberal Democrats until it got swept up by the great Nationalist besom at the last election. My MP was Michelle Thomson, formerly SNP who then had to resign from the party for questions over her property dealings. She is not standing again.
The Liberal Democrats are hammering the seat with one of their big hitters (by Lib Dem standards), Christine Jardine. ONLY LIB DEMS CAN STOP THE SNP AND ANOTHER INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM their leaflets tell me, with the second issue being avoiding hard Brexit and any other policies are a poor third. “To vote Liberal Democrat you don’t have to agree with us on everything – you only need to agree that the SNP should be stopped.” No Second Independence Referendum is plastered all over their posters with quotes pointing to the SNP’s obsession on the topic.
Meanwhile the SNP leaflets barely mention the Lib Dems. “IN EDINBURGH WEST THE TORIES ARE BACK. ONLY THE SNP CAN STOP THEM.” say their leaflets, as if the Tories are Sauron and his Orcs. Otherwise they too are protecting Scotland from a hard Brexit. As for a second independence referendum, Not One Dicky Bird. The subject that dominates Scottish politics, that was voted on in Holyrood a few months ago and which has turned us into two angry tribes of Nationalist vs Unionist, is not even touched upon.
The Lib Dems hold Edinburgh Western, the Scottish Parliament seat, though the boundaries are not identical to Edinburgh West. I won’t get into the complications of the voting system here, but the Tories did make a good showing at the Holyrood and local elections, so they can at least be represented as Sauron’s unsleeping eye, even if they have not yet conquered the West.
So as well as saying Vote for Us, the SNP is doing a little propaganda for an alarmed Unionist to split the anti-Nat vote between Tory and Lib Dem. The Tories have been quiet in this particular constituency so I’m guessing they may be tacitly leaving this to the Lib Dems.
At this point I howl at Westminster’s FPTP system which forces you to gamble instead of the Scottish system of ranking so I could put a 5 by the SNP candidate and a 4 by Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party (fringe nutters).
So how are things in your constituency?
Update:- misspelled “constituency” in the title.
And like the SNP I missed out indyref2! They have an ulterior motive, I only have negligence and forgetfulness to blame. I have added something now.
Further update:- Stephen Daisley, always entertaining, on the SNP’s campaign in Scotland.
The slogan remains the same as in 2015: Stronger for Scotland. As bumper sticker mantras go, it’s pithier than ‘Stronger for that Narrow Slice of Scotland that Wants Another Independence Referendum’ and more upbeat than ‘Honk If Your Child Can Still Read This Sign’. At least the slogan is consistent, unlike everything else about the SNP’s campaign. They’ve assured us this election is both about Scotland deciding when to hold a second referendum and nothing whatsoever to do with Indyref2. They’ve had more positions on the EU than the EU has member states. Their message changes day by day, their lines of attack hour by hour. Good governments run on their record. Bad governments run from their record. This government can’t work out what its record is.
Daisley has had his own run-ins with the SNP, a couple of whose more vehement MPs got him removed from STV.